One time professional baseball player and Houston Astros scout Lew Temple has been acting in films, television, and on stage for several years now. He’s done a variety of movies – ‘The Newton Boys’, ’21 Grams’, ‘Red Ink’, ‘Born to Win’, ‘Rolling Kansas’, ‘Angels in the Outfield’, and his recent role as Locus Fender in ‘Domino’ among others. He’s guest-starred several times on ‘Walker Texas Ranger’ and even appeared on stage with Vanessa Redgrave in ‘Antony and Cleopatra’.

…But was he ready for Rob Zombie? In 2005 Lew career took an interesting turn when he was cast as Adam Banjo in the deliciously twisted ‘The Devil’s Rejects’. If you’ve seen the movie you’ll easily remember Lew as half of the musical duo Banjo and Sullivan…and the guy who has his face “filleted”. The movie exposed him to the horror genre and he must have liked what he saw . Since his role in the film Lew has appeared at various horror conventions, he’s starred in the creepy flick ‘The Visitation’ (in post-production), and done a role in the upcoming ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Origin’ from New Line Cinema with Jordana Brewster and R. Lee Ermey.

To celebrate the release of ‘The Devil’s Rejects’ on DVD, this modern day cowboy chatted a few moments with me in this exclusive www.racksandrazors.com interview.


Owen: Hey Lew. 

Lew: Owen, good to say hello, and I appreciate the interest in answering a few of your well thought questions. I am just returned from filming of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Origin. Had a wonderful time, and looking forward to it being every bit as “Off the Hook”, so to speak as the previous effort. At any rate, let’s visit:

Owen: So first off why don't you tell me how you got cast as Adam Banjo in 'The Devil's Rejects'.

Lew: The Casting Director for the film was Monika Mikkelsen, she had cast me in Serving Sara. She is a fantastic casting director (just look at how perfect The Devil’s Rejects was cast), and she thought I would be a good fit for Rob in the role of Adam Banjo. She put me on tape for Rob (I think the audition is on the extra features of the newly released DVD), and Rob liked it and brought me in again to make sure that I was what he was looking for. About a week later, they called with an offer. I was thrilled because it was a role that was so much fun to develop. I had never done a horror film, and the opportunity to be part of something with so much “underground cult” appeal was really a gift. I tried to model Adam Banjo after a typical tough talking, southern redneck type, with bravado, but also some left-thinking sensibilities. And then of course the big character arc, when he “pulls on his dress” when the “shit hits the fan”. This gave him somewhere to go when he had to muster up the courage to go after Otis, in a last-ditch effort to survive. I am grateful that Rob Zombie allowed me to take Adam in a direction that offered some more depth, and he always encouraged us to be in the reality of the situation that he set up. He always brought in a vision and an organization to a scene, but in the same sense, he would have the flexibility to let go of something that was tried and not working, and try something different. He himself brings such intensity to the work; I think that he raised “the bar” for our performances with his own sense of stage presence. I have had the privilege to work with some GREAT directors (Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez, Alejandro Inarritu, Thomas Haden Church, Tony Scott, Robby Henson, Michael Bay, etc.), he is definitely among that class.

Owen: How exactly did they pull off that stunt in the movie where you get your face peeled off by Bill Moseley as Otis?  I mean I know it was a mask, but what other tactics were used?

Lew: Well I was going in to have a little “nip and tuck” anyway... (Kidding). Wayne Toth was the prosthetic artist who cast the face mold at his special effects house. He is a master at this craft, and really enjoys his work. It could end up being pretty claustrophobic, but Wayne takes great pains to comfort you while you are waiting for the mold to set. The actual face carving was done using camera angles to cheat the point of view...I was set up on a platform, where we could have Bill place the knife in a way that would suggest he was making the incision in my face. The amount of blood that Wayne had to use was overwhelming...at some point I saw all of the blood being pumped through my head and hair, and I began to think, “There goes my first little league hit, there is the first kiss from a girl, my first car”. All of my life was pouring out of me as I began to expire, sort of like “Frosty the Snowman” in the greenhouse. It was a bit poetic in some ways. Bill (Moseley) and I spoke about the resignation of ones life at the hands of another...It gave Otis a little humanity. Almost honoring the death of one of his victims. The choreographing of the fight scene was probably more challenging than the face removal. Kane Hodder (Jason of Friday the 13th) was the Stunt Coordinator. He was so experienced, and instrumental in making the fight scene look as gritty and real as possible. It was a long two days out in the desert for everyone. I am really proud of it, I think it looks great, and has the right desperate intensity to it.

Owen: So what are the best words you can think of to describe the 'House of 1000 Corpses' and 'The Devil's Rejects' director Rob Zombie?

Lew: I covered a lot of my thoughts of Rob above, but some words that come to mind are: Intense, Artistic, and Intelligent. He is very grounded in who he is. He makes things happen, and makes them happen in his way. He holds you accountable for being responsible, and expects you to bring something to the party. He is confident in what will work, and is never afraid to “try”. I would say that a lot of his success as an artist is his “can-do” approach. Rob Zombie knows what he wants, and wants what he knows. I have never worked with anybody with such a “just do it” attitude. He puts Nike to shame...

Owen: I'm curious too about the feel or mood on the set.  Was there anything unique about 'The Devil's Rejects' set as opposed to any other film you have done?

Lew: Like I said, I have never been exposed to the Horror genre before, so the level of urgency or immediacy was always somewhat present. The veterans Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, Geoffrey Lewis, and others, all had a great style in giving this creepy nonchalant impending doom to their work. It really becomes a very subversive stylization that is amazingly interesting to watch. I tried to pick up on that as a technique, and more than anything just be as real with an authentic 1970’s Rock-n-Roll country wild ass. Again Rob Zombie supplied a lot of the intensity, and the Director of Photography, Phil Parmet lent his eye to a visual tone and sensation. I think we all came to work with the expectation to do better than we had the day before...and that as actors we had to bring our best to the picture in order to stay in the mix. It was a very fulfilling experience all in all. The other thing, just physically it was the biggest cast I have ever been part of...I mean giants literally, Matt McGrory (God rest his Soul), Diamond Dallas Page, Sid Haig, Danny Trejo, Bill Moseley, William Forsythe, Ken Foree, Michael Berrymen...They looked like a football team for fucks-sake! It was Intimidation Street definitely. I will always be proud to be part of this movie, based on the acting and artistic presentation alone...horror film or not.

Owen: Up to that point you had done dozens of films, but you hadn't really done horror,.  It sounds like that Rob Zombie appearance has also led to appearances in other horror films.   Tell me about doing the prequel to 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' with Jordana Brewster and R. Lee Ermey.

Lew: It was a great experience working again in my home state of Texas, with a dear ole’ friend Lee Ermey. I had worked with Lee in a movie called On the Borderline years ago. He is such a pleasure and a consummate professional. The great thing about working with somebody like Lee is that he can’t say a line poorly; I mean he could read the telephone book and it would sound perfect. Andrew Bryniarski (Leatherface) is also an amazing actor; to do what he does every time out is a real credit. I would just want to say that he “gets you there in that mood, FEAR...real quick” He is the real –deal as he has proved and I am thrilled to have been with him on this project, as well as the young cast including Jordan , Diora and Cyia. Jonathon Liebsmen, the Director has a good take on putting this film in the proper taughtness of the impossible and desperate survival. There are a few surprises, and like any prequel, all will be revealed...you know you can’t win unless you score, and you can’t start unless you begin...

Owen: You are also starring in the upcoming supernatural thriller 'The Visitation'.  Can you tell me a little bit about that project?

Lew: This is a great premise, in short, it is the “second coming, beware of false prophet and redemption story” all rolled into one. A young man (Eddie Furlong) returns to a small dying town offering hope in the form of faith in his worship. A faithless citizen who has lost his wife (Martin Donovan) and a transplanted single Mother (Kelly Lynch) have doubts about the consequences of giving your belief to this new hope...in the end he turns out to be The Devil’s Minion as our heroes are in the throes of trying to save the town from selling their souls. I play a detective who is a skeptical that it is, but curious that it could be. Also I get to have a crush on Kelly Lynch, which is not really acting now is it.... Robby Henson directed, and Joe Goodman and Ralf Wynter were the producers. It will be released theatrically this winter by FOX. It is really about the choices we make and the consequences when we make them. How easily we are to give our faith to convenience, or the possibility of a “good thing”. I really like this film, it looks very edgy, as Robby is very well thought and forward thinking in his filmmaking. Oh, my favorite “big sister” Priscilla Barnes is also starring in it.... she is amazing as always. I am such a huge fan of her work...how about in Devil’s Rejects...she can “deliver the mail” as we say. A must see for sure.

Owen: What other projects do you have coming up in the future?

Lew: I am also due out in Heaven’s Fall, probably January. This is a period piece set in the 1930’s about the Scottsdale Boys. Several Black boys were falsely accused and convicted of raping two white girls in Alabama. The trial was set in Alabama, and they were defended by a Jewish attorney from New York (played by Tim Hutton). David Strathairn plays the Judge who overturns the verdict. I play a southern-racist prosecuting attorney alongside my partner (Bill Sage). It was a very challenging piece to give this character likeability, and not just villainize him. Terry Green directed with such precision and delicateness. Lee Sobieski and Azura Skye are incredible, as is BJ Britt and Anthony Mack. What an epic piece, what an important piece, and what a visual it is. I was honored to be able to work with one of my favorite actors, and now call him my friend, David Strathairn. There is not another compassionate, sensitive man in film today. What a gift he is...Also working with my dear friend Bill Sage is always a treat...And as you know DOMINO is out. That is a whole other interview...but to work with Tony Scott, Mickey Rourke, Kiera Knightley, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Edgar Ramirez...it was like showing up to work with Willy Wonka being your boss. WOW. Simply “Over the Top”.... I am so proud of that film, critically it is a good movie. I am always moved at the story that we told about this woman’s life...again, it is an honor.

Owen: You've also been making some horror convention appearances.  Aren't horror fans the best!!  We are the most loyal folks in the world.  What's the most unusual request a fan has made of you so far?

Lew: Yes Horror fans are so much fun...I would consider them to be the most genuine and honest of fans as you could ask for. They never cease to amaze me at their knowledge, and their loyalty. I am always impressed by how much they show up and support. They will not tolerate betrayal -- they are like family. One woman claimed that she was Adam Banjo’s Mother, and that she needed his underwear and socks in order to clean them. I told her that Adam did not wear underwear, and Otis made off with the socks. Several fans have asked me for my face; Rob owns all of the masks, except for the original of course. I still own that one, or maybe Lion’s Gate, I am not sure.... I think that guys like Rob and Bill and Sid have taught me the importance of this fan base, and how special that it is. I always look forward to being out and amongst them, and they are always thoughtful enough to show up at my other premieres as well. I had as many Devil’s Rejects fans at the Domino premiere as any...I am proud to call them my gang, and proud to be part of them. Can’t wait to meet more of them.

Owen: I know you are also a devout Christian.  Does that ever limit what you will or won't do on screen in character, or is acting apart from all that?

Lew: I am a Christian, and it is the driving force in my life. I have been quite fortunate over the years to have received a couple of “wake-up” calls and paid attention. I try to base my day today on solid ethics, and bring those ethics to my work. If possible, I will incorporate that part of me into the character, as Rob allowed me to do ever so subtly with Adam Banjo, (praying in despair and fear)...But I don’t always try to represent this, sometimes it is not the truth of a particular character...sometimes it would hinder the need of a character...it would confuse the development of a particular type of character. We are all flawed in different ways as human beings, and a Christian ethic does not always support those flaws. I tend to avoid some material that is not suitable for my personal belief system, but that is as much out of respect for my Granddad as anything. When it all gets down to it, it is all the same...and we all have to answer for our actions at the end of the day. Isn’t that what storytelling is all about? I have not been in a situation where I don’t feel right about doing something on screen. If that is because my view of life keeps me out of that scenario, then there you have it...I know what I will do on screen, that is always an effort to serve the character and the story...how far, we’ll see.

Owen: What scares you in real life?

Lew: What really scared me was recently on the red carpet for the Domino premiere, with my Mom as my date, seeing her smoking a cigarette and telling a reporter about the first time I wet the bed, or masturbated...That is FEAR. I am afraid of human suffering of any kind. It makes me very uncomfortable and aware of how fragile we are. I don’t like to be exposed to violence, it makes me feel helpless, and weak...I am fearful of children dying, and Mothers...I am always amazed at the human condition, the effort, but also afraid of what a human might resort to, including myself...you know if it all went astray. When I am in a bad place, I am afraid of being alone...If I am of the mind above, that can’t happen...I don’t like rides, like fast thrill rides...they don’t make me smile. Eggplant can work my nerve, and getting caught in my dreams would be frightening...

Thanks for your time Owen, and your ear…or eyes…

Owen: Thank you Lew, and all the best to you.